Thank you, Mr. Chair.
It's good to see the witnesses again. We've met several times but never in person. Someday we'll get back to that.
I first of all wanted to thank Mr. McMichael for working with our colleague Marilyn Gladu, the member of Parliament for Sarnia, to raise awareness, start an email campaign and fight for those jobs that are at risk in Sarnia. Ms. Gladu spoke highly of your efforts together, and we're all working together to fight for the right thing here, which is to keep Line 5 operational.
You talked about a bilateral energy task force and energy security for our two countries. Obviously, both LiUNA and Canada's Building Trades had some strong words when another project that involved the energy needs of both the U.S. and Canada was cancelled. I want to read a statement from Terry O'Sullivan, the general president of LiUNA, who said:
The Biden Administration's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit on day one of his presidency is both insulting and disappointing to the thousands of hard-working LIUNA members who will lose good-paying, middle class family-supporting jobs. By blocking this 100 percent union project, and pandering to environmental extremists, a thousand union jobs will immediately vanish and 10,000 additional jobs will be foregone....
...In an agreement with North America's Building Trades Unions, the project owner, TC Energy, had committed $1.7 billion to operate the pipeline with renewable energy and achieve net-zero emissions within two years—all using union workers. Their commitment amounted to the equivalent of taking 650,000 cars off the road, one of the largest renewable energy investments ever.
We support the President's campaign to “build back better.” But for union members affected by this decision, there are no renewable energy jobs that come even close to replacing the wages and benefits the Keystone XL project would have provided. Killing good union jobs on day one with nothing to replace them, is not building back better. Hopefully, the Biden Administration will not continue to allow environmental extremists to control our country's energy agenda at the expense of union construction workers being forced to the unemployment lines.
That is perhaps the strongest statement I heard regarding the Keystone XL cancellation.
When we heard from the Minister of Natural Resources, he kind of said these were two completely different things. However, they are doing, in my view, the exact same kind of outreach. They are trying the same plan to ensure that Line 5 stays open as they tried to get the Keystone XL permits to continue. They failed on Keystone XL, though, and have, in my view, kind of thrown up their hands at that one.
From a union perspective, obviously.... I'll go to Joseph here. What do you see as the government's role in ensuring that Line 5 continues to operate? Is there anything more the government should be doing?
To me, this is a President and a Prime Minister discussion. Anything else below that is kind of missing the point. From a union perspective, how do you see the efforts that have been made by our government, both on Keystone and now to protect these good-paying union jobs for Line 5?